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With the summer now officially over, temperatures dropping and wind speeds increasing the UK braces itself for the potential of extreme weather conditions. The UK is no stranger to bad weather, last year alone Storm Katie, the eleventh storm of that season, reached wind speeds of over 100mph. The strong winds brought widespread effects across England damaging a large number of trees, transport and structures. Here at Mark Bates Ltd we have compiled a list of simple household checks and preparations to protect your home from extreme weather.
One of the most important initial steps with flood preparation is to check with your local council about local flood plans and to ask authorities about relocation routes and centres. Another important measure you can take is to sign up for Floodline Warnings Direct by heading over to the website or calling 0345 9881188. The service is free and open 24 hours. There are also flood protection grants available to some areas across the UK. To find out if protection grants are available for your property you can contact your local authority. In the event of a flood and having to vacate your property an important factor to remember is that pets are not allowed in shelters due to health regulations.
There are several home amendments, you can make to ensure minimal damage if flooding is imminent. Investing in door guards for the external doors on the ground floor will prevent dirty flood water from entering your home and soiling your furniture and possessions. Flood guards are mostly used to manage flash flooding and can simply be fitted over doors. Door guards can be made to size for any door and can be fitted above the doorstep and sealed on either side of the door to prevent water entering the property. Many people who live in high flood risk areas also avoid having carpet on the ground floor and opt for laminate flooring to avoid saturating and damaging the floor. Another popular method is to build dams and contour the ground to keep water out of window wells as windows often cannot withstand pressure. Perhaps one of the most important measures to take is to make sure your fuel tank is anchored to the ground. During a flood an unanchored fuel tank can tip over and spill fuel causing a fire. If you have tanks that are the property of a business, you will need written permission to anchor them, or you can ask whether the company can do this for you.
If you would like to check to see if you live in a flood risk area you can use ‘Check My Flood Risk'and simply enter your postcode. For more information on hints and tips in the event of floods head over to the government website.
If a storm or gale is predicted to hit your area, it’s a good idea to check that nothing could fall from your roof and cause damage. Another important area to check is the garden. The garden is often a place that gets ignored when extreme weather is forecast as people focus on the property itself. However, there are a number of safety measures you can take in your garden to reduce damage to your home. One of the primary steps to take is to secure garden furniture by moving it into the garage or fastening it down with tarpaulin to avoid either losing it to the strong winds or having to worry about it blowing into any windows. Another factor to consider is if any tree branches or shrubbery are close to windows, especially any that are close to power lines or windows and to cut them back if this is the case. Securing fences is also important so that they don’t come loose and cause damage to your property or any neighbouring properties during a storm or strong gale.
During the colder months, your home may be at risk of burst and/or frozen pipes which can cause untold damage, not to mention stress. Having water leaking from tanks, pipes and heating systems in your home is easily avoidable if you are well equipped in advance of cold weather. If you are going away in winter for a lengthy period it’s a good idea to turn off your inside stop tap and drain the system, this way there is no water in the pipes to freeze. Check the taps in your home and put new washers on any that appear to be dripping as these can freeze and block the pipes when the cold hits.
Despite increased extreme UK weather events a recent survey has found that one in five home owners do not have buildings or contents insurance. This study also revealed that people in private rental accommodation are most at risk with 42% of properties left uninsured in some areas across England. The most expensive items in UK homes are deemed to be kitchen appliances which amounted to an average cost of £2,218 per home with Jewellery in second costing an average £1,760. Despite the high value of the belongings in UK homes nearly one in ten believe the location they live is safe enough to not need any protection.
Did you know that Mark Bates Ltd now supply home insurance? If you’re over 50 and haven’t claimed for at least 3 years, we will guarantee to beat your existing renewal offer. Our 5 star rated policy includes many benefits such as, ‘New for Old’, £500,000 buildings cover, £100,000 contents and is available on direct debit at no extra cost*. For more information, head on over to our Home Insurance page.
*Qualifying terms and minimum premiums apply.
Mark Bates Ltd